Theodore Sheets rescued Brent D. Reutebuch from burning, Winamac, Indiana, September 8, 2001. Badly injured, Reutebuch, 30, remained in his sport utility vehicle after a highway accident at night in which the vehicle overturned onto its passenger side and caught fire. From his nearby residence, Sheets, 49, carpenter and factory worker, heard the accident and responded to the scene with a fire extinguisher. He used the extinguisher against flames at the front of the vehicle, but it had little effect. Sheets then climbed atop the driver’s side of the vehicle and through a broken-out window saw Reutebuch lying on the front passenger door. Flames were inside the vehicle, on the dashboard and steering wheel, and melting material was dripping onto Reutebuch. Sheets entered the vehicle through a side window and grasped Reutebuch underneath the arms. Dragging Reutebuch, he backed out of the vehicle through the broken rear window, then moved Reutebuch a short distance away. An arriving sheriff’s deputy assisted in taking Reutebuch farther from the vehicle, which was soon engulfed by flames. Reutebuch required hospitalization for treatment of extensive injuries and burns. Sheets was treated at the hospital for second-degree burns to his hands and right forearm; he recovered.
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